A 14-year-old black teen was arrested Thursday for allegedly selling water bottles outside the Philadelphia Zoo. A video of the arrest that shows an officer wrangling the teen to the ground and handcuffing him went viral on social media.
The incident began when a zoo security officer flagged down Philadelphia police to report a group of boys selling water bottles outside the zoo. When the officers approached the 14-year-old teen he walked away from them, which resulted in his arrest, according to Philadelphia TV station WTXF.
The video depicts two officers arresting the teen while surrounded by teens and adults yelling in distress. A zoo security officer, who allegedly flagged down the police, is seen confronted by a colleague who yells “Is this what you want?”
The Philadelphia Zoo did not immediately return a request for comment.
Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif reposted the viral video in a call for an investigation of the Philadelphia Zoo and police.
“It ended in arrest. A violent arrest. And I’m not gonna tolerate that. We’re not tolerating that kind of nonsense when it comes to our children,” Khalif said in a video statement. If the zoo is unable to provide answers, Khalif said, then the zoo will have protesters outside to “shut it down.”
A 53-year-old water vendor was tased and arrested after trying to intervene in the arrest, according to WTXF. Both the man and the teen were issued disorderly conduct citations.
The group of teens were selling water to support their local football team, according to the caption on the Facebook video. This statement is not true, says officials at the zoo, who claim the kids were not selling water on behalf of a football team and they were doing so without a permit.
Dana Lombardo, director of communications at the Philadelphia Zoo, told Philly Voice the arrest was “unfortunate” and “unusual.” The security officer had flagged down police driving by the zoo because the group of boys were engaging in “aggressive” and “commercial” behavior by soliciting money from zoo guests, throwing a rock at a zoo member and harassing a different female zoo officers before the scuffle and arrest happened, according to Lombardo.
The group had other incidents with zoo security officials before the arrest Thursday and when they were asked to leave, the group made threatening remarks to the security official, Lombardo added. Lombardo said the group wasn’t even selling water, Philly Voice reported.
The incident and how it was handled by police are under investigation.
The incident comes after a recent viral video showed a woman calling the police on a child selling water without a permit to raise money for a trip to Disneyland.
Source: Lilly Price, USA TODAY
Photo Credit: OnMilwaukee
Photo Credit: Dominique Davis/Facebook